The Rockies are off to their best start in history. They are in third place in the NL West, 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, but only two behind the D-Backs, who have the lead for the first NL wild-card invite to post-season. And the Rockies have a 7 1/2-game lead on the Cubs and Cardinals in the battle for the second NL wild-card spot.
8 Reasons the Rockies can advance to the post-season for the first time in a decade and fourth time in franchise history:
1-Home Sweet Home
The Rockies have the third best home-field record in the NL, behind the Dodgers and D-Backs. They have played only 44 home-games, which is the fewest of any of the teams currently in position to claim a post-season berth. They survived a stretch from May 16 through July 2 in which they played 30 of 44 games on the road (during which they went through a stretch in which they lost eight in a row and 10 of 11 against the Dodgers, Giants and D-Backs.
NL Home-Field Records at the All-Star Break
|Los Angeles Dodgers||39||11||.780|
|St. Louis Cardinals||26||24||.520|
|San Diego Padres||22||22||.500|
|New York Mets||19||24||.442|
|San Francisco Giants||17||24||.415|
The Rockies have never had the anticipated rotation/lineup together. They do have hope that will change. Ian Desmond, who had never been on the disabled list in his career prior to this year but has been sidelined twice this season, is expected to rejoin the
team in New York this week. Chad Bettis, recovering from testicular cancer, began a rehab assignment in the minor leagues on Thursday. David Dahl is two games into his rehab assignment in the minor leagues after being sidelined in spring training by a stress reaction of his sixth rib.
3-At the Top
The Rockies three All-Stars give the team as impactful a 1-2-3 punch as any in the lineup, and all three are Gold Glove caliber defensive players.
Charlie Blackmon ranks second among NL lead-off hitters with a .318 average, and is the NL leader for lead-off hitters in home runs (20), RBI (61), triples (10), doubles (17) and slugging percentage (.586). He has an ability to get himself into scoring position, allowing the Rockies to put pressure on the opposition early in a game.
DJ LeMahieu may be the most underappreciated player in the game, but not among his peers, who elected him to the All-Star team. He is an ideal No. 2 hitter with the ability to make contact, and a stroke designed to drive the ball the opposite way. He ranks second among No 2 hitter with a .299 average and third with 40 RBI . He’s also third with 46 runs scored.
Nolan Arenado is an impcatful No. 3 hitter. He is tied for third with Bryce Harper of the Nationals among third baseman with 64 RBI. That’s four behind Joey Votto of the Reds, and three behind Paul Goldschmidt of the D-Backs. He is sixth in average at .305, and second in extra-base hits with 44, two fewer than Votto.
4-Cargo On Board
It has been a nightmarish first half for Carlos Gonzalez. He is hitting only .221. He has hit only six home runs. He spent a stint on the disabled list with a shoulder problem. But he is on the roster, has had four days to regroup and there is every reason to think that Gonzalez can regain form in the second half of the season. He’s a career .287 hitter after the All-Star Break. And one thing that hasn’t suffered has been his stellar defense in right field.
5. Deep Depth
With players getting healthy the Rockies actually will have difficult decisions to make about who to take off the active roster, and who to take out of the lineup.
Ian Desmond was signed to play first base with the expectation that over time he would become a Ben Zobrist-plus because of his versatility. In his absence, Mark Reynolds has enjoyed his best first-half of his career. He has hit .284 with 19 Home runs and 61 RBI. His career averages are .240 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI.
David Dahl, who won the Rockies left field job last year but has been out since spring training. He did begin a rehab assignment in the minor leagues on Wednesday, which runs through 19 more days before a decision to activated Dahl would have to be made.
That void has been filled by Desmond at times when he was healthy, but more often Raimel Tapia and Gerardo Parra. The two have combined to hit .331 with eight home runs, 41 RBI and 47 runs scored. Parra (.335) and Tapia (.323) rank 1-2 among Rockies position players in average.
Closer Greg Holland was signed after missing a season with Tommy John surgery and is better than ever. In his first season with the Rockies he set a major-league record by converting his first 23 save opportunities of the season. His 28 saves at the All-Star break is a Rockies record, the 10th best total in a season in Rockies history and only 13 saves shy of the franchise’s single season record. His 1.62 ERA is also the lowest ever for a Rockies relieve in a single season.
|Reliever ERA||Saves in a Season|
|Greg Holland||2017 Col||1.62||Jose Jimenez||2002 Col||41||47|
|Rex Brothers||2013 Col||1.74||Shawn Chacon||2004 Col||35||44|
|Manuel Corpas||2007 Col||2.08||Huston Street||2009 Col||35||37|
|Steve Reed||1995 Col||2.14||Rafael Betancourt||2012 Col||31||38|
|Gabe White||2000 Col||2.17||Brian Fuentes||2005 Col||31||34|
|Dave Veres||1999 Col||31||39|
|Brian Fuentes||2006 Col||30||36|
|Brian Fuentes||2008 Col||30||34|
|Huston Street||2011 Col||29||33|
|Greg Holland||2017 Col||28||29|
The Rockies have been without Chad Bettis since the season began. Jon Gray made three starts early but a stress fracture in his left foot that he suffered
during the spring forced him to miss six weeks of the season. And Tyler Anderson recently underwent arthrosopic surgery on his left knee. Even without those three the Rockies rotation is on its way to a record-setting season thanks to the emergence of
rookies Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland, German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman. Those four made the Rockies the first team in history to have four rookies with at least five wins apiece at the All-Star break. The rotation, compared to the season totals of the past, has the second best winning percentage in Rockies history, third lowest ERA, and third lowest batting average allowed.
The Rockies bullpen has had some struggles, but even with those problem times the relievers have an ERA that would rank the seventh lowest in franchise history, and a batting average allowed that would set a franchise record. Chris Rusin (2.30 ERA) and Jake McGee (2.70) have combined with Holland to provide a solid foundation.
There is talk the Rockies could make a deal for a reliever, but they also know that if the rotation gets healthy as expected they can fill bullpen roles with younger starters who they want to protect from being overworked this season. And there is a strong feeling that with his dominate fastball and big-time curveball German Marquez might eventually become a closer.
The Rockies season bullpen numbers of the past, including this year until the All-Star break: